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ECG WELCOMES NEW WHITE PAPER ON FUTURE OF TRANSPORT Urges the EC to focus on co-modality and sound funding mechanisms


05 Apr 2011



The European Commission’s newly released White Paper on Transport is a critically
important discussion document that should help enhance the economic efficiency and
environmental sustainability of our transport system, according to ECG president
Costantino Baldissara.

Voicing ECG’s strong backing for the central tenets of the White Paper, Baldissara
highlighted in particular its emphasis on efficient co-modality as the basis for the future
development of the system. “The vehicle logistics sector has long been truly co-modal. As
such, we strongly support the Commission’s desire to optimise individual modes and
enhance the links between them. We urge it to focus intently on this approach,
abandoning efforts to engineer modal shifts.” Baldissara added that the White Paper’s
emphasis on efficiency is particularly important at a time when the vehicle logistics sector
continues to suffer the impact of the economic crisis. “Rates are flat and costs are on the
rise, putting significant pressure on margins and constraining our members’ ability to invest
in fleet renewal,” he said.

But he also stressed the importance of a sound funding mechanism for improvements to
the transport system. “While the external costs of transport must be reduced,” he said,
“these costs must be accurately assessed, and existing taxes and charges on the sector
taken into account, before they can be internalised. What is more,” he argued, “taxes on
transport must be devoted to making the industry more efficient and sustainable, rather
than being diverted to other areas.

“As the White Paper acknowledges, logistics is critical to improving the efficiency and
competitiveness of the European transport system, and so the European economy as a
whole. We are far from having a functioning single European transport area. Obstacles to
the free movement of goods across a functioning internal market abound.

“They include the inefficient patchwork of rules across Europe on maximum lengths for car
transporters. We advocate the harmonisation of truck lengths at a minimum of 20.75m, a
move that would raise transport productivity and efficiency and provide environmental
benefits, since longer trucks mean fewer loads.”

ECG supports the EU’s environmental goals, specifically the target for the transport sector
of a 60% cut in greenhouse gas emissions by 2050, and believes that efficiency and
environmental sustainability go hand-in-hand. As the White Paper notes, if the challenge is
to break the system’s dependence on oil without sacrificing its efficiency, “curbing mobility
is not an option.”

In developing new responses to this challenge, Baldissara said, “ECG strongly supports
the Commission’s effort to develop cost-effective IT-based solutions that can render
logistics more efficient. We applaud the onus it places on safety and security, though we
would also urge the commission to act faster to increase the number of secure parking
places for trucks. And we back its plans for individual modes: the creation of green
corridors for truck transport; the effort to eliminate bottlenecks and increase interoperability
on the rail network; the focus on simplifying formalities for ships working the “Blue Belt” in
the seas around Europe; and the stress on enhancing the value of the inland waterways.

For further information please contact:
Mr Mike Sturgeon, Executive Director of ECG,
Tel: + 32 2 706 8282

Background for the Editors
ECG, the Association of European Vehicle Logistics, has been the voice of the Finished Vehicle Logistics
industry in Europe since 1997. ECG represents the interests of almost 100 member companies, from family
owned SMEs to multi-nationals, and is the major champion of the European vehicle logistics sector. We
represent all transport modes at EU level.

ECG Members provide transport, distribution, storage, preparation and post-production services to
manufacturers, importers, car rental companies and vehicle leasing operators in 25 Member States, Turkey
and Russia. They own or operate more than 373 car-carrying ships, 13,000 purpose built railway wagons, 24
river barges and 17,600 road transporters. As a major employer, the industry plays an important role in
contributing to the economic success of the European Union. Today, ECG members have an aggregate
turnover of €15 billion and their economic impact on companies associated with the sector is estimated at €34
billion. More than 60,000 Europeans are employed directly by the vehicle logistics industry and an additional
167.000 are indirectly employed in this sector